Listeria Prompts Romaine Lettuce Recall

Bagged Chopped Romaine Shipped to 21 States May Carry Listeria

By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Sept. 30, 2011 -- Listeria may contaminate bagged chopped or shredded romaine lettuce shipped to distributors in 21 states.

No illnesses linked to the lettuce have been reported. There does not appear to be any link to the ongoing outbreak of listeria in Colorado cantaloupes.

True Leaf Farms of Salinas, Calif., is recalling 2,498 cartons of chopped or shredded romaine lettuce. The FDA detected listeria in a single bag of the lettuce during routine tests.

The lettuce was shipped to retail distributors in three states: Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. It was sold directly to consumers only at Cash & Carry Smart Food Service stores in those states. The 2-pound bags bear the code "B256-46438-8."

However, the lettuce was also shipped to wholesale food-service distributors in Alberta, Canada, and in 19 states: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Vermont.

All of the recalled lettuce has a "use by" date of Sept. 29, 2011.

The FDA advises anyone who has the recalled lettuce to "destroy it" or to call Church Brothers, the sales agent for True Leaf Farms, at 800-799-9475.

If you have eaten suspect romaine lettuce, be aware of the symptoms of listeria illness, known as listeriosis. Listeriosis symptoms can appear anywhere from three days to two months after eating contaminated food. They include fever and muscle aches, and may also include stiff neck, headache, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions.

Despite the current outbreaks, listeriosis remains an uncommon illness. But it's very serious. Listeriosis is fatal in about 20% of cases.

Listeria rarely causes serious disease in healthy people. However, some people are at greatly increased risk. These include:

  • Older adults
  • Pregnant women
  • Transplant recipients or others taking immunity-suppressing medicines
  • People with HIV, diabetes, or other diseases that weaken immunity

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SOURCES: News release, FDA.FDA web site.True Leaf Farms web site.CDC web site. ©2011 WebMD, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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